Mark Goldsmith Appointed as Inspection Panel Member

Mark Goldsmith has been appointed as a member of the Inspection Panel, succeeding Jan Mattsson whose five-year term ended in November. Mr. Goldsmith is a United Kingdom citizen and brings to the Panel more than 25 years of experience managing complex projects and teams across the financial services, development, strategy consulting and energy sectors. Mr. Goldsmith has dealt with a wide portfolio of matters, including environmental, social, sustainability, safety, risk management and governance issues. His appointment is for a term of five years and took effect on November 17, 2019. More


UGANDA: Water Management and Development Project and Energy for Rural Transformation Phase III Project – Board Considers Panel Investigation Report

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors on December 3, 2019, considered the Inspection Panel’s Investigation Report in response to Requests for Inspection of the projects and approved Bank management’s Action Plan. The Requesters had raised concerns about potential harm caused by the construction of the Isimba Dam and the consequent flooding of a part of the Kalagala Offset Area (KOA). Although the Bank is not financing the construction of the dam, the Requesters claimed environmental and social harm from the flooding of the KOA, which was established as a requirement of an earlier Bank project. The Panel found several instances of Bank non-compliance, specifically in regard to funding and capacity constraints for the maintenance of the KOA, the Bank-funded addendum to Isimba’s Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, and the assessment and mitigation of potential impact of extending the offset area, particularly on livelihoods. More

INDIA: Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for Low Income States – Panel Submits Investigation Report

The Panel on January 15, 2020, submitted to the Board its Investigation Report in response to two Requests for Inspection of the project. As permitted under changes approved by the Board in October 2018, the Panel will share the report with Requesters on a confidential basis so they can be more meaningfully involved in the consultations for the Management Action Plan in response to the Panel’s findings. The Requesters claim that a water treatment plant and an elevated storage reservoir financed by the project were built on land that has historical and cultural significance to their tribal communities. They raise concerns about losing access to community resources, as well as about environmental and economic impacts. More

BRAZIL: Teresina Enhancing Municipal Governance and Quality of Life Project Additional Financing – Board Approves Panel Recommendation to Investigate

The Board on December 13, 2019, approved a Panel recommendation to investigate the project. The Panel received a Request for Inspection on August 23, 2019, from 202 families living in the Mafrense and São Joaquim neighborhoods of Teresina. The Requesters express support for the project but oppose their resettlement and claim alternate project designs would enable them to stay in their homes. They contend community members have been living in these locations for several decades and that, by displacing and dislocating their community, the project will cause cultural, social and economic harm. In recommending an investigation, the Panel acknowledged the positive actions management proposed in response to the Request but stated it remains unclear about the adequacy of those actions to address the issues raised by the Requesters. More

POLAND: Odra-Vistula Flood Management Project – Board Approves Panel Recommendation Not to Investigate

The Board on January 10, 2020, approved a Panel recommendation not to investigate the project. Between June and October 2019, the Panel received nine Requests for Inspection from representatives of German and Polish civil society organizations and private institutions and individuals operating and living in project-affected areas. The Requests raised a number of concerns, including potential harm to biodiversity, increased flood risks, transboundary impact on Germany, involuntary resettlement and impact on Natura 2000 habitats. In making its recommendation not to investigate, the Panel considered the design of the project, adjustments that were made following outcomes of the phased environmental assessment process and Bank management’s commitments to assist the borrower in strengthening capacity for communication and community outreach and to monitor the resolution of outstanding resettlement issues. More 

KENYA: Transport Sector Support Project and its Additional Financing – Board Approves Panel Recommendation to Defer Investigation Decision for Second Time

The Board on December 6, 2019, approved a Panel recommendation to defer for a second time its decision on whether an investigation of the project is warranted. The Board in April 2019 had approved a six-month deferral. The second deferral is for four months. In both cases, the deferrals aim to provide Bank management time to implement actions to respond to the Requesters’ concerns about the project. In recommending the four-month deferral, the Panel stated it had reviewed the progress achieved so far in the implementation of the various actions to which management had committed and was satisfied that these actions are on track. However, the Panel noted that some actions required more time for completion. More

SRI LANKA: Ecosystem Conservation and Management Project – Panel Issues Notice of Registration

The Panel on December 9, 2019, issued a Notice of Registration in response to a Request for Inspection of the project. The Request was submitted on October 21, 2019, by two individuals representing 106 community members from around the Kudawa area in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The Requesters allege that the project is causing harm to the natural environment and community livelihoods through road construction activities in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a World Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. They express concern over the adverse impact of the road construction on several endemic species of fauna and flora and on local livelihoods, and also claim a lack of consultation and disclosure of information. More

BRAZIL: Piauí Pillars of Growth and Social Inclusion Project – Panel Issues Notice of Registration

The Panel on January 21, 2020, issued a Notice of Registration for a Request for Inspection of the project. The Request – submitted on December 6, 2019, by three members of communities in the Cerrado region of Piauí – alleges that local traditional communities have been left out of the land tenure regularization process under the project. The Requesters argue that the project promotes regularization mainly for agribusiness and large landowners whose farming practices destroy biodiversity, soil and water. They claim that the region has a history of land grabbing, which is being legitimized through the project. As a result, they argue, local traditional communities are losing their lands, crops and subsistence. The Requesters also claim a lack of social assistance, public safety and access to education. More

EGYPT: Upper Egypt Local Development Program-For-Results – Requesters Express Satisfaction with Outcome of Case

A representative of project-affected community members who had filed a Request for Inspection of program has written the Panel to express satisfaction with the outcome of the case. “We have been very pleased by your response to our concerns, which contributed effectively to the completion of the project,” Ahmed Osman Omer wrote in a November 11, 2019, email after the entire 200 meters of a canal passing through the community had been covered. In a January 2019 complaint, Requesters claimed that a subproject of the program was expected to cover 200 meters of the canal but that 90 meters remained uncovered – creating environmental, health and safety impacts. More

Panel Produces Video on its First Case Involving GBV

The Inspection Panel has produced a short video about its 2016 investigation of the World Bank’s Transport Sector Development Project in Uganda. The case was the first time the Panel had investigated allegations of gender-based violence in a World Bank-funded project. The Panel found that Bank management’s oversight was not sufficiently robust, its supervision missions did not result in effective problem-solving, and it was late in recognizing and responding to issues after receiving an initial complaint from the affected communities. Following the case, the World Bank created a Global Gender-Based Violence Task Force, which in 2017 recommended steps to strengthen the Bank’s capacity to identify, mitigate and prevent the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse in its projects. The video can be accessed on the Panel website or by clicking here.

World Bank Honors Key Architect of Inspection Panel’s Creation 

The late Ibrahim F. I. Shihata, the World Bank’s general counsel from 1983 to 1998 and one of the primary architects of the Inspection Panel’s creation, was honored by the World Bank Legal Vice Presidency on November 7, 2019. The Bank’s former board room was renamed the Ibrahim F. I. Shihata Conference Room in his memory during a dedication ceremony attended by his family and former and current members of the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, Bank management and the Panel. The ceremony included a video tribute to Mr. Shihata and remarks by his wife, Samia Farid Shihata. Mr. Shihata, a prolific writer, authored two books about the Panel: “The World Bank Inspection Panel,” and “The World Bank Inspection Panel: In Practice.” In addition to his role in the establishment of the Panel, Mr. Shihata led the initiative to create the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.


Panel Co-Organizes Workshop for Civil Society in Sri Lanka

The Inspection Panel co-organized a workshop for civil society representatives in Sri Lanka on October 15, 2019. Inspection Panel Member Ramanie Kunanayagam explained the work of the Panel at the workshop in Colombo organized with Environmental Foundation Limited and attended by more than 30 participants representing a mix of environmental, social, law and justice, and women’s associations. Ms. Kunanayagam provided an overview of the role played by the more than 20 independent accountability mechanisms that operate at multilateral and bilateral development institutions and then spoke specifically about the Panel’s mandate and operations. More 

Panel Hosts Columbia University Human Rights Advocates Program

The Panel on November 19, 2019, hosted participants in the Human Rights Advocates Program at Columbia University. Panel Chair Imrana Jalal and Executive Secretary Dilek Barlas welcomed the group, which included advocates from nine countries. Operations Officer Birgit Kuba then briefed the group on the Panel’s mandate and procedures and answered questions on several issues. The Human Rights Advocates Program provides grassroots leaders the tools, knowledge, access and networks to strengthen their organizations and promote human rights. Participants in the program have visited the Panel annually in recent years. More 

Panel Co-Hosts Annual Meetings Session on FCV Countries

The Inspection Panel and Oxfam International on October 18, 2019, co-hosted a session titled “Development and Accountability Challenges in FCV Countries” at the Civil Society Policy Forum (CSPF) during the World Bank Annual Meetings. The session explored the challenges facing development practitioners in countries beset by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV), the difficulty in implementing safeguard policies in those countries, and steps that can be taken and the role civil society can play to address those challenges. The FCV session was one of three CSPF events the Panel took part in during the Annual Meetings week. More

Bank Management Update – Action Plan Implementation Report

World Bank management in October 2019 released its latest report on the implementation of its Action Plans. The Action Plans were developed in response to findings in Inspection Panel investigations and have been approved by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. Management, as requested by the Committee on Development Effectiveness of the Board, began submitting these biannual implementation reports to the Board in April 2016. In line with its Updated Operating Procedures and to promote transparency, the Panel publishes the management reports on its website.


The Inspection Panel is an independent complaints mechanism for people and communities who believe that they have been, or are likely to be, adversely affected by a World Bank-funded project. The Board of Executive Directors created the Inspection Panel in 1993 to ensure that people have access to an independent body to which to express their concerns and seek recourse. The Panel is an impartial fact-finding body, independent from the World Bank management and staff, reporting directly to the Board. The Inspection Panel process aims to promote accountability at the World Bank, give affected people a greater voice in activities supported by the World Bank that affect their rights and interests, and foster redress when warranted.